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FOCUS ON QUALITY OF PUBLISHING CAN MAKE INDIA GLOBALLY COMPETITIVE

Jehanara Wasi is an editor, writer, journalist, researcher, literary agent, and broadcaster who has over five decades of experience in working with leading Indian and international publishers such as Oxford University Press, Macmillan, Vikas, Tata McGraw-Hill, Rupa, Heritage, Pearson, Konark, India Research Press, Random House India, Bibliophile South Asia, Ocean Books and Aakar Books and UN organisations like United Nations Development Programme – UNDP, UNESCO, UNIDO – United Nations Industrial Development Organisation, UNICEF and UNFPA. She has also worked extensively with Indian Government organisations like National Museum, NCERT, ICCR, IGNOU and educational/ cultural organisations and think tanks like British Council, US Educational Foundation for India, US Information Services, Indian Association for Canadian Studies, Delhi Policy Group, Liberty Institute, Third World Academy, Sulabh International, Rajiv Gandhi Institute for Contemporary Studies, Osho World Foundation, National Literacy Mission), The Energy and Resources Institute, International Labour Organisation, Association of Indian Diplomats, Council for Social Development, India Research Press, Indian Council for South Asian Cooperation, India International Centre, Business world, Friedrich Ebert Foundation, Save the Children Fund, Indian Council for World Affairs and Bharatiya Vidya Bhawan.

Jehanara also has significantly contributed as a literary columnist to leading media houses like The Economic Times, The Times of India, The Fountainhead, The Sunday Observer, The Hindustan Times, Indian Horizons, The Education Quarterly, Saturday Times, The Statesman, Travel Times, Vidura, Design, Destination Traveller, Indrama, Discover India, Swagat, City, Scan, The Patriot, Link, The Financial Express and First City. She has edited for over 150 literary and educational projects for national and international publishers. She is a graduate in History from the University of Delhi and postgraduate from the University of Oxford. In a candid interview with T.I.W, Jehanara unfolds the dynamics of the publishing industry.

#1. How do you see the evolution of the Indian publishing industry?

The Indian publishing industry will continue to evolve despite the pandemic. There may be a slight break, but books are still in demand.

#2. How different is the Indian publishing industry from the international ones?

The international publishing industry is more comprehensive in terms of the quantum of books coming out in English. However, since India has so many languages, the figures must be high.

#3. What is the impact of digitisation on the publishing industry?

Digitisation has accelerated the publishing process but unfortunately, there is a decline in the reading habit. However, I still feel that discs and kindles are no substitute for the print version.

#4. What changes do you expect in the Indian publishing industry to make it competitive?

In India, we must focus more on quality and less on quantum or the number of books to be published. There are several categories of readers, and they must all be satisfied. We must become more selective regarding titles to be published in all disciplines.

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